FORT WALTON BEACH — The Okaloosa County government has received a large donation from local businessman Jay Odom to improve safety on U.S. Highway 98 on Okaloosa Island.

Odom on Monday announced a pledge of $100,000 for construction of a bridge-to-bridge pathway between Brooks Bridge in Fort Walton Beach and the Marler Bridge in Destin for bicyclists and joggers on Okaloosa Island.

The money will be used to begin construction, should the Tourism Development Council approve the expenditure of $160,000 to execute an environmental assessment, required by the federal government before any further action is taken. Should that assessment be positive, the county can move forward with plans for constructing the path.

“Several years ago, a man lost his life on Highway 98 bicycling to church for Easter Sunday services," Okaloosa Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel, whose district includes Okaloosa Island, said in a news release from the county government.

"We want to prevent more deaths like his and make Okaloosa Island a safe and exceptional place for bicyclists, runners and lovers of nature,” Ketchel said. “This multimodal path will reduce the tragic spike in life-threatening and deadly wrecks involving pedestrians and bicyclists by separating them from high-speed traffic on U.S. 98.”

The Tourism Development Council, which meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the commission meeting chambers of the county administration building, will discuss then whether or not to move forward with the study.